Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #117: Work One Million Times Harder

If you work one million times harder than your peers and predecessors, you'll likely succeed.

Today, the President encouraged students to do well in school. As expected by reasonable Americans of varying ideological beliefs, the President did not go off on a political tangent, and the sentiments expressed were non-divisive (to rational people). Once again, the fear-right wing was wrong. I am sure their leaders and media noisemakers knew they were wrong all along, but they wanted to create panic and hysteria; what good is a far-fright wing without chaos?

Even-handed members of the opposition know the score. Kudos to "independent conservative" Joe Hicks for essentially throwing the hysterical hicks under the proverbial bus. It's a shame that I have to take the time to find examples of opponents willing to debate civilly, but here we are in this era of Internet trolls.

Speaking of Internet trolls, one commenter called "Adam Smith" on yesterday's news about President Obama's education speech lamented on Affirmative Action, and I quote:

There is not [sic] equal opportunity for young white kids. They listen to revisionist & selective history about their country & how their race is responsible for all ills in the world. Then they are discriminated against in college entrace [sic] qualifications & acceptance. Then they get hardcore racist & leftist garbage from wacky left professors. Then they face Affirmative Action policies that are insane in this day and age of promoting incompetence if the melanin content of one skin is high enough.

There is no more equal opportunity in Amercia [sic]. Ask any white male cop or fighter (from experience).
Here's the deal, my likely pseudonymous "friend": President Obama was fated to have a strange-sounding name to middle America, darker skin, and an upbringing that doesn't involve silver spoons. And yet, he worked a million times harder (a hyperbolic and metaphoric figure, of course) than his peers. He seized some key opportunities, as we all are given various opportunities, and he is currently doing well in his chosen career path. I write that Barack Obama "is currently doing well in his chosen career path" as an indicator of success and not "is the President" as an indicator because not everyone can be the President of the United States (or any specific title) in this lifetime or this Universe. However, one can work hard to find success in what they do, and in who they are.

The same is true for virtually everyone who has earned success in spite of having any combination of different-colored skin, a funny-sounding name, a modest (or lower) socio-economic upbringing, female genitalia, non-mainstream sexual orientation, a scapegoated/misunderstood religion (or lack thereof), differently-abled bodies, and other perceived obstacles in life. The successful ones work a million times harder than their peers and predecessors. They seized every opportunity by the horns and held on to the wild ride, and every opportunity thereafter.

Now, "Adam Smith," if Affirmative Action is a perceived obstacle to non-ethnic white, male, Evangelical Christian, heterosexual, upper-middle class (or higher), healthy, suburban Americans (of all hair and eye colors!) - then they will have to work a million times harder than their peers to succeed, just like any other American en route to the American Dream of prosperity. Again, here's my self-help guru platitude: If you work one million times harder than your peers and predecessors, you'll likely succeed. I hope this sentiment is a valid possibility for all the world's peoples as well, and not just my country.

In other words: Welcome to the realized Meritocracy...bitch.

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